Melania Trump is described as a “mysterious First Lady” weathering a chaotic White House in an in-depth New York Times profile published on Friday. The piece examines her role in the administration and references the “I REALLY DON’T CARE, DO U?” jacket that created a lot of controversy during her visit to the border in June—which, according to a source in the story, she wore as a statement toward anyone “outside and inside the White House” critical of her decision to visit a shelter for migrant children.
If you remember, Trump was photographed stepping out of her car at the Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland before boarding a jet to the Texas Upbring New Hope Children’s Shelter. The images captured her green jacket, made by Zara, emblazoned with the words, “I really don’t care, do u?” Many instantly took issue with the First Lady’s choice of fashion, calling it tone-deaf and insensitive in the context of her visit to a children’s shelter during the family separation crisis.
Already, there have been myriad excuses made for the jacket: Donald Trump said his wife was addressing the news media, while Melania’s camp wrote in an email to White House pool reporters, “It’s a jacket. There was no hidden message.” This new explanation from the Times‘ anonymous source suggests that the jacket was a calculated move aimed at detractors who took issue with the First Lady visiting the children’s shelter—a move that would seem to conflict with her husband’s hard-line stances on immigration.
Per the article, “a person close to Mrs. Trump said the jacket was actually directed at anyone—both outside and inside the White House—who wanted to criticize her decision to visit the children in light of the administration’s aggressive immigration policies.”
Despite the reframing of the situation, the East Wing insisted to the New York Times that the jacket “had no underlying message.”
“No one tells the first lady what to do,” Trump’s communications director Stephanie Grisham says in the piece. “Our office has nothing to do with what clothing choices she makes, and this situation was no different.”
Melania has made headlines for occasionally seeming to contradict the President—most recently, she released a statement applauding basketball player Lebron James’ charitable work after her husband bashed him on Twitter. However, many people have accused her of being disengaged, since she rarely appears in public. She’s also faced backlash for her frequent silence amid the administration’s more controversial moments and for her “Be Best” campaign against cyberbullying, which has been called ironic, given the President’s tendency to lambast people online. (It’s also had some trouble taking off).
That’s about it on the jacket front, but the Times‘ profile makes for a good read—click on over to it here.